By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
So are you feeling pressured to start toying with Google+ and join the 10M users that are “circling,” “hanging-out” and “sparking” on Google+. My verdict is: definitely play around and identify engagement techniques for your brand but there is no need to shift from Facebook and Twitter just yet. As a social agency, CRT/tanaka is constantly evaluating new tools and applications, BUT we also preach the “Don’t fall for the shiny object syndrome” mantra. With that mindset, my personal (limited) usage of Google+ and listening to expert reviews, here are some key things to keep in mind when you talk about Google+:
Get Familiar with G+ Buzz Words “CIRCLES,” “HANGOUTS” and “SPARKS”: Much like the Facebook ‘Like” and Twitter “Follow”, G+ comes with its own set of engagement buzzwords and the most popular one is “CIRCLE.” Unlike Facebook, where anything you post is shared with both your personal friends and professional friends, G+ enables you to group your contacts in different “circles.” You can control what you want shared with whom in a much more organized fashion on G+ unlike on Facebook. The Visa Blog gives a good analysis of G+ Circles and how to use them efficiently on the Visa blog http://visablog.net/2011/07/7-tips-to-use-google-plus-g-circle.html. Another great place to learn more about G+ is of course https://www.google.com/intl/en-US/+/learnmore/index.html#circles.
G+ “HANGOUTS” Can be Used for Better COLLABORATION: The “hangout” feature of G+ offers a group-chat functionality for up to 10 people. The video quality may not be near-perfection but offers a great medium to bring in folks across different parts of the globe on a single video-interface. Mashable calls “Hangouts” the killer functionality of G+. Facebook recently signed a contract with Skype to add a video/audio feature to their chat but this is still in the works and not sure if it enables group video-chat. G+ Hangouts is offering this for free and that’s freaking cool from a collaboration perspective. Just think of bringing in your clients, colleagues in different offices to now “hangout” versus an audio-only meeting. A great use of the Hangout feature from this Mashable post: Sarah Hill, an anchor for KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri, has been inviting her Google+ fans to join her in Hangouts, the network’s video chat service. KOMU hosts a Hangout during the 5 p.m. newscast to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the newsroom. She then interviews people in the Hangout on-air about their reactions to the day’s news.”
Journalists MORE ENGAGED on Google+: Meghan Peters, Mashable’s communtiy manager in her post, “Five Ways Journalists are Using Google+” points out that journalists who are typically the cautious adapters of new technology are showing more engagement on Google+. The easy to “group and share” functionality has attracted the journalists who are able to organize their professional contacts more effectively on G+ than on Facebook Groups or Twitter Lists. So if you haven’t connected with your target media list on Twitter or LinkedIn, may be you can ‘circle’ them on G+. The overall theme so far about G+ is that the conversations are “smarter and more meaningful” on G+, which could be an added incentive for journalists to spend their time on G+. So definitely encourage your media relations team to leverage G+ to connect with your target media.
We are definitely closely following G+ and curious to see how businesses will leverage what’s been called a “truly social product from Google” by CNET. Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-19882_3-20079844-250/google-makes-me-happier-than-facebook/#ixzz1SSva5CVt. My only word of caution is: Get your hands dirty around G+ but don’t change course on your digital activities just yet. Facebook and Twitter have not become MySpace yet for you to abandon them and don’t fall for the sensational blog posts on G+, everyone will and should talk about G+, BUT you’ve got to filter facts from fiction. Do share your experience so far with G+ with Buzz Bin readers and thank you for stopping by!
Image courtesy: Mashable http://mashable.com/2011/07/17/journalists-using-google-plus/